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What Indian publishing startups think about $20M+ Kickstarter fundraise by fantasy fiction author

Fantasy fiction author Brandon Sanderson has made news worldwide for breaking Kickstarter’s fundraising record with over $20.4 million raised for releasing four unpublished books.

While this may signal a whole new revenue stream for individual authors, Indian publishing houses and startups are equally excited about his achievement as well.

In a text message to YS, Ranjeet Pratap Singh, Co-founder and CEO of vernacular publishing startup Pratilipi, said, “I think it is absolutely amazing!”

Ranjeet Pratap Singh, Co-founder and CEO, Pratilipi

He believes that this marks a huge step in the evolution of the publishing industry. With an example of an author who has raised these phenomenal amounts of money, he believes that this will help increase the value of the entire industry.

“I think we are seeing a big evolution in storytelling with people building direct relationships with their consumers and how success in one format helps a story become successful in other formats as well making the ecosystem so much more valuable,” Ranjeet said.

Aditi Maheshwari, Executive Director of the half-century-old vernacular publishing house Vani Prakashan Group, told YS that “this event is astonishing.”

However, she did warn that it could be the first in a wave of changes for the industry, or just a one-off success by an immensely popular writer.

“I will be waiting to see how it pans out. It might become an important departure or turn out to be a total dud in the content industry,” said Aditi. “Time will decide.”

Adding to Aditi’s point, it must be remembered that Brandon Sanderson is not an ordinary author. No ordinary author can crowdfund $6.79 million for a ten-year edition of a bestseller in 2021, just to turn around and break Kickstarter’s record with a $20.4 million raise in just four days in 2022.

According to Yogesh Dashrath, India Head of the Swedish audiobook startup StoryTel, “Sanderson is arguably the pre-eminent fantasy writer today.”

However, he believes that Sanderson’s success will inspire other authors to become internet creators and push their own novels directly to audiences as well. Their success will depend on their fanbase.

“I am sure we will see other writers who will try such campaigns,” Dashrath told YS. “Their success will depend on how loyal a fan following they have.”

“He [Sanderson] has built a body of work and fanbase which is the reason for the success of campaign,” said Dashrath.

However, Dashrath did have the belief that there are Indian authors who could emulate this crowdfunding success today.

In particular, he singled out Amish Tripathi as an Indian author with the potential to monetise his work in a similar way.

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